Canadians are often stereotyped as polite, friendly and usually the first to say sorry, but assassins? That’s a new one.
The Quiet Canadians, an action drama by Saanich director and producer Helena Thom and her partner Anthony Epp, puts a spin on our national identity, taking a fictional look into the undercover world of Canuck hitmen. The original web series is currently in the Telus Storyhive contest, which pits B.C. and Alberta filmmakers against each other for a chance at $50,000 to finish their six-episode shows.
Thom attended the University of Victoria for psychology, but stumbled into the film industry after graduating with her degree.
“I was kind of an in-the-closet writer,” she said with a laugh. “I was always intrigued with how movies were made, but I didn’t actually seek out the information.
“I was volunteering at a haunted house one year and that’s when I met my partner. We started coming up with ideas for a script. From there, we started writing more. Everything just happened very organically.”
One of those ideas was The Quiet Canadians, based on a spy novel of the same name by Warren Thompson. Together, Thom and Epp have taken the idea and turned it into a clever, thrilling drama with a sense of dark humour.
“Anthony has always wanted to do these espionage, James Bond type of movies,” said Thom. “We couldn’t decide whether it would be a feature or a short or a web series. We’d been talking about it back and forth for about a year and a half, and then the opportunity came up with Telus Storyhive.”
The duo put together their pitch for the competition and were one of 15 teams shortlisted for the B.C. contest. They are currently putting together the pilot for the web series, which will be voted on by the public.
Based on votes and the decision of a judging panel, the winning team will receive a $50,000 grant to produce five more episodes of their series.
“It’s very exciting,” said Thom. “We are the only action drama. There’s a lot of comedy and horror-type comedies with zombies. There’s a lot of interesting dramas, but ours is the only action drama in the line of espionage.”
Without giving too much away, Thom said the pilot will give viewers a taste of the thriller and leave them wanting more – particularly five episodes more.
“We introduce a little bit more of the main character,” she said. “We learn a little bit more about his background and the organization that will be hunting him.”
Voting starts in August. To view the pitch video for The Quiet Canadians or for more information, visit storyhive.com.